How has child labour been changing over time? An overview of this widespread phenomenon starting from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist up to the latest ILO statistics.
“Boy for sale!” was shouting out Mr. Bumble in Oliver!, a musical by Lionel Bart premiered in 1960 and based upon Charles Dickens’ novel.
Almost all of us know Oliver’s history: the main character is an orphan, Oliver Twist, who was born in a baby farm and spent his childhood with no one taking care of and feeding him, or even coerced, by the beadle of the parish he lived in, to work picking oakum at the main workhouse.
Dickens’ novel dates back to the first half of 1800s, when children exploitation in workhouses was a usual and rooted practice even in many rich countries, such as England.